This post is brought to you by one of the last Instagram hype fails I involved myself in, in early spring (insert frog with tea)…
Right out of the gate, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to say YMMV. A lot of the time, I find that the phrase “YMMV” in cosmetics is just an excuse for a product to not live up to what it says it’s supposed to do, and I don’t prefer the term. I do, however, recognize that everyone is different and are different biologically. In this case, we are talking hair. And a lot of people have different textures of hair. But the way they describe the product and who would benefit from it, I thought I might have been their target audience.
I purchased the Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste (I paid $11.99 on Amazon, it’s now $8.99) because an Instagrammer I follow(ed) raved about it on multiple occasions. The Instagrammer happens to wear her hair natural (translates to not relaxed), so I thought ok, her hair looks great! Perhaps mine will behave the same way! I relax my hair quarterly or less, so I thought this might be perfect.
On the back of the jar, the brand claims that the pomade “smooths rough, unruly edges” and stimulates hair growth. They say it has super sculpting powers and will hold your curls.
My edges are rough when they are dry and can be unruly and I can use some of this sculpting power they boast about, but I didn’t experience any of that.
I am familiar with pomades and pastes that claim to slay your edges, if you will, but in the end, most of them don’t last very long for me. My hair, naturally, is pretty coarse, and craves moisture and is therefore always on the drier side of life. I made sure my hair was moisturized before using this product, and even tried it without moisturizing. In each case, my slicked down edges would start to curl back up after 15 minutes! I was not, not, not pleased with this.
The paste did work a lot better when my edges were relaxed, most likely because my hair could not curl back up. A curl control paste, that could only control my hair when it was physically and chemically unable to curl back up. No, man.
And this is why I YMMV’d this post. If you don’t have naturally coarse hair, perhaps this might control your curls. If you do have naturally coarse hair, keep your pennies in your pocket.
This experience and others are why I say, “blogging is not dead.” I started reading, writing, following, and depending on blogs way back in the day because it was real people saying what they thought about the quality of something. A lot of beauty blogging has changed so drastically and it seems like everybody has their hand in the pot; you now have so many different niches. And on a larger scale you have beauty “influencers” that aren’t very different from magazine ads and TV commercials, and that’s totally fine, if that’s what you’re into. I typically don’t mind that when it comes to fashion. I can visualize the way something might fit or look on my body, and if I hate the fabric or just don’t fancy its construction or color, I can just return that sucker so easily.
Not so with beauty products, although stores like Sephora and Nordstrom are setting a great example. I have no problem with swatch blogs that simply show how makeup looks on them with no review. What really grinds my gears, is the praise and glory washed over products when it’s so obviously undeserving. I really just wish there was some way to separate those influencer ads from traditional blogs that actually help others decide whether or not something is worth it (like this 15 minute pomade). I do follow some influencers, and while I might like the way a lip swatch looks on someone, for the most part I find myself more interested in how the product performs and whether or not it would suit my skin tone.
I suppose I get it, though. The beauty industry is so oversaturated and how a product performs is likely not of huge interest to a brand, and probably something an established company or a quickie brand (you know, those “companies” or people that just create a new liquid lipstick out of nowhere or buy a bunch of palettes from China and slap their names on them) is interested in. They just want to get those products out the door. If it looks good, it must be good, right? (Side eye, eyeroll, huff and puff, blowing houses down.)
I’d like to take this moment and say thank you to the beauty bloggers that continue to give their two cents about products, especially the ones that are popular; I know it can be hard to risk saying how you really feel about something out of the fear of brand abandonment. But it’s what drew a lot of people/humans/readers to you in the first place. I’m not bashing entrepreneurship or trying to tell anybody how to behave or make their living. I know data matters and brands will continue to do what makes their products sell, while influencers will continue to be influencers. I’m just a person that appreciates quality over quantity. In the end, someone out there will have some original thought about a product and whether it’s good or bad, or just plain ineffective, the cat will be out of the bag.
-XX and sorry for the novel!